I grew up on a small farm in Swift County, Minnesota as one of 8 children. It was all hands-on deck and we worked hard during planting and harvest season. Our village had a restaurant, grocery store, gas station, post office, and a church. Like many small farming communities, we looked out for each other. If someone experienced tragedy, everyone pitched in to help. Community was important to my family then and community is important to me today. I married young and started a family moving to different regions in the state and eventually we settled in Alexandria to raise our family. I have 3 adult children and 7 grandchildren living in Elk River, Rhode Island and Underwood, MN.
My first significant employment was in healthcare. I loved to help people, so I entered healthcare as a CNA. My healthcare pathway evolved into the challenging laboratory work as a phlebotomist. I enjoyed the learning experience that phlebotomy offered, and I was able to continue delivering compassion through direct patient care. My career in the fast pace healthcare field taught me about commitment, discipline, and empathy for others. I enjoyed working with healthcare professionals and I found fulfillment helping patients in stressful situations needing critical care.
After 20 years in the healthcare field, I was ready for change. I enrolled in the Marketing Sales Management program at Alexandria Technical and Community College. I applied for scholarships, worked hard on academics, and volunteered wherever I could. As a member of the Student Senate I participated on the college search committee for a new president and I also interviewed with Governor Pawlenty to serve for 3 years as a member of the Board of Trustees for the MNSCU College and University system. I was a State Officer for my Association and represented my peers with energy and professionalism. I stayed in school and received my bachelor’s in business management from Southwest MN State, Marshall.
During college I worked at the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce. I enjoyed getting to know entrepreneurs and business owners and collaborating to solve problems. I helped develop new networking events and managed the Shop Alexandria First Campaign encouraging community members to buy local to grow our economy during the 2008 economic downturn.
I transitioned to the Knute Nelson Foundation during the Capital Campaign for Grand Arbor. Foundation work was very meaningful as I often advocated for Seniors through funding requests for programming and facilities.
Currently, at Local Level Marketing I help businesses with their promotional needs through advertising in the Definitive Woman Magazine. My work on the Definitive Woman Magazine has been extremely rewarding as I encourage community members to share their area of expertise to educate, inspire and encourage our readers to be their best selves. In each issue we feature women who have overcome adversity, beat the odds or done great things in their community. Our team is continually honored and humbled when women choose to share and entrust their stories with us.
I have had great work and volunteer experiences in the lakes area. Before Alexandria had a YMCA, I volunteered on their Finance committee working to raise funds for programming and to build awareness of the facility needs in our community. As a United Way Chair, I helped create change by raising funds for programs that impact the health, education and financial stability of our community. As a member of the Inclusion Network we worked hard on a common goal of making Central MN a welcoming and inclusive place for people of all backgrounds to live and work.
Today I volunteer to support my customers who are members of the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce. I welcome new businesses to the chamber and mentor them as they work to grow awareness to prospective customers. As a member of the Alexandra Downtown Merchants Association I show up and help at events that promote shopping and entertainment in our area. Currently, I am the Board Chair for Midwest Mindfulness Meditation Center. The Center is a non-profit whose mission is to bring mindfulness-based interventions to vulnerable populations for peace healing and self-care.
Whether I am working, volunteering, or spending time with family in the great outdoors; I will always have a special fondness for life in rural Minnesota. I am grateful that others have stepped up before me to protect our lakes and rivers so I can enjoy trips to the boundary waters each year with friends. It is time for me to give back to my Minnesota neighbors. It is time for me to bring all these great experiences with me to help lead Minnesota into a strong and healthy future.
Love & light,
Wenner for MN House
P.O. Box 1241
Alexandria, MN 56308